Sprint rivals wait with bated breath on forecast and flight plans

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The Independent Online

William Buick is not the only one who has his eyes on the skies this week. Buick is so hot right now that the only way he will be able to satisfy the demand for his services at the weekend will be to take a helicopter to the Curragh to ride Nathaniel for John Gosden in the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes immediately after partnering the Australian sprinter Ortensia in Haydock's Betfred Sprint Cup.

But though Ortensia's camp are convinced that Buick's availability is crucial to the mare's chances and will be "devastated" if the trip is deemed logistically not feasible (a decision will be made later this week), the weather over the North-west of England in the coming days will probably have a far greater bearing on the outcome.

The Haydock ground is good, but the forecast suggests that it will be on the fast side by Saturday. Roger Charlton's Bated Breath, beaten a nose in the race last year, will appreciate a sound surface. On the other hand, Richard Fahey's Mayson, runaway winner of the July Cup on soft ground, would be better served by plenty of rain. Assistant trainer Robin O'Ryan, while pointing out Mayson boasts decent form on faster going, conceded: "If we could have ground to order, it would be good to soft, soft in places and it doesn't look as though we're going to get it."

Turf Account

Chris McGrath's Nap: American Impact (3.50 Musselburgh)

Totally out of his depth at York last time, has a great chance back at this more realistic level judged on earlier progressive efforts.

Next Best: Steeler (4.05 Goodwood)

The pick on form in this Listed event following three smart efforts.

One to watch: Falls Of Lora might well have won instead of finishing eighth if she hadn't been blocked off at a vital stage at Sandown last time.

Where the money's going: Simonsig has been attracting support for the Champion Hurdle and is second favourite for that race with the betting exchanges.